In some ways this movie was awful. In others, it was the prefect monster movie. Tremors turns 30, the most perfect B movie creature feature ever made.

It’s been 30 years since the release of Tremors, an unabashed love letter to the B-movie creature features of the 1950s that remains as fresh today as it was three decades ago. The film is sheer perfection, and ranks among my personal favorite films of all time. As Ars’ own Nathan Matisse wrote last year, “If B-movie horror with flashes of comedic brilliance and a few edge-of-your-seat scares interests you, viewers likely can’t do much better than Tremors.”

The rest of the article contains spoilers. If you haven’t seen the movie, well, what are you waiting for?

Here’s the trailer.

Hollywood is Officially Out of Ideas – Take 2

So while trying to determine if I was going to see Ford v Ferrari, while it is still in my local theaters, I was once again pulled down the rabbit hole of what does Hollywood have queued up for the next few months. It isn’t pretty. (Ford v Ferrari isn’t a comic book movie, it’s not a sequel, based on the SJW screeching that heralded its release, it isn’t politically correct, and it is supposed to be a decent movie. Still undecided.)

Sonic the Hedgehog, has been in the news because of the Uncanny Valley issues that arose after test screenings, so they rendered the entire movie a 2nd time with a redesigned Sonic. It still looks like a version of ET with a more comic hero, a more comic bad guy, and less appeal. (Scientists and the military are bad. I’m surprised that the cop comes across as a good guy.)

Just when you thought they were done with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they are set to release Morbius, who’s a doctor/researcher that manages to turn himself into a vampire. You can be excused if you’ve never heard of this character, since he was originally a minor Spider-Man villain, from the 1970s.

Some of the other fair… Another Bad Boys movie with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, A quasi-sequel to DC’s ill-fated Suicide Squad with Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. A Vin Diesel movie about a soldier back from the dead and enhanced. I keep thinking that this is RoboCop with more effects, and in the biochemistry realm, instead of hardware. And another Bond film staring Daniel Craig. (His last?)

Then there are the social justice screeds, and at least one movie that only a New York pseudo-intellectual could relish. The Booksellers is a documentary on the New York rare-book world. It will probably be interesting, but seems more suited to PBS than a theatrical release. A movie that casts homeschooling as cause for concern. (What are you hiding that you won’t let your kids go to state school?) An alcoholic’s attempt to regain sobriety. A story about an “unintended pregnancy” and 2 teens seeking “medical help.” (Can’t imagine what the message of that film might be!) An “inspiring story” of overcoming “an abusive childhood.” A story about “displaced youth” waging war with “the system” to keep her sisters together. And finally a satire about the super-rich.

The only thing that seems to have missed the Social Justice crusade is The Last Full Measure, the story of William H. Pitsenbarger, a United States Air Force Pararescueman, and how he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, thirty-four years after he died. A story about the Vietnam War, that showcases the heroism of at least one service member? How did this come about? Though I suppose they can still paint everyone else with darkness.

The Cats Fiasco

I suppose that eventually, like maybe next week or so, this thing will be put on DVD and end up at my library. At which point I may see it, or part of it, anyway. Why do I care? Schadenfreude, especially where Hollywood is concerned.

Hollywood In Toto serves up ‘Cats’ – Believe Every Ounce of the Awful Buzz.

It’s not as bad as everyone is saying. It’s actually worse.

Hollywood decided that if you are going to produce a movie based on the musical Cats in the era of CGI, we should move right into the uncanny valley and make ourselves at home.

If this film has a true legacy, it will be in providing a textbook example of how CGI can ruin a movie.

The musical was practically without a plot. So of course Hollywood had to graft a bit of a plot onto the musical, because the suits want a presentation that includes “What is the plot?” Because suits have tiny little minds, and they can only mimic what they saw last week. (My Dinner with Andre, would never be made by today; it has almost no plot.) But the musical didn’t need a plot. It was all about the music. In the meantime, if you want to see a musical made into a movie that is done properly, get a copy of Fiddler On The Roof.

Pitch Meeting videos are always too long, but Cats was such a bomb, that you have to give him some leeway for roasting it. (The video is almost 7 minutes) I have no idea if YT is going to choke on privacy settings for a video from Screen Rants or not, but if they do, use this link.

You would hope that Hollywood would learn that not everything translates well to the big screen, but as they mention in the video, Cats made a ton of money in the theater. Billions of dollars actually . No way Hollywood was going to pass up trying to get a chunk of that. And besides, they have no original ideas left, so they will be translating everything. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a movie version of I Love Lucy produced. Though it probably isn’t Woke enough for them to acknowledge. Although they did make Charlie’s Angels into a movie. Twice.

The Voices of Women in Metal

Continuing a train of thought that started earlier today with Monday for Metal… Actually it started with last Monday’s edition… There is an interesting documentary Soaring Highs and Brutal Lows: The Voices of Women in Metal. Doro Pesch, Charlotte Wessels, Alissa White-Gluz, Floor Jansen, Marcela Bovio, Kobra Paige and Anneke van Giersbergen in their own words. OK, at one hour, 30 minutes and change, it is a bit longer than I like to reference here, but I watched it in several installments.

I love the fact, that after a few credits, and snips of interviews it jumps in with Floor Jansen singing an aria from one of Puccini’s opears. Because why not? Several of these women are classically trained sopranos, after all. Because that is the technical level at which bands today make Heavy Metal. It is NOT all Thrash, despite what the suits in the American music industry think, with their tiny minds and lack of imagination. And I also like that Floor Jansen does practically give a singing lesson in the middle, while discussing pop versus metal, etc.

So here is the trailer for Soaring Highs and Brutal Lows: The Voices of Women in Metal. The entire 2015 documentary is available for anyone who is an Amazon Prime member. Or you can rent it for a 2 or 3 bucks, depending on whether you absolutely have to have HD or not. And don’t worry, despite the fact that it came out of The Netherlands, it is in English.

Danny Aiello: June 20, 1933 – December 12, 2019

So Danny Aiello passed away, and people will have lots of nice things to say about. With good reason. He was a great actor. And of course everyone will mention his role in The Godfather: Part II.

A little something different. Here is a clip from Hudson Hawk, an off-the-wall Bruce Willis movie, that I always thought was better than The Fifth Element.

Get Woke. Go Broke.

In the least-surprising box-office news of the decade… New female forward “Charlie’s Angels” falls flat.

This was a movie I was never going to see. I doubt I will see it for free via my local library when the DVD is released. In time for Christmas? Probably not that fast, but fast.

The following description sums it up nicely.

In terms of feminism and 2019 inclusivity, it checks all the boxes.

Unfortunately, the movie was bogged down by clichés and predictability.

And Hollywood is too blinded to see that “checking all the boxes” results, inevitably, in predictability.

The standard “Men don’t want to watch female action heroes” line is being spread around. The folks saying that conveniently ignore Wonder Woman, the 2001 version of Laura Croft: Tomb Raider, Terminator 2, etc. Or in the world of TV, they also have to ignore Netflix’s adaptation of Marvel’s Jessica Jones. Because if they can’t blame others for not being “woke enough,” then they would have to blame themselves. And they are never responsible for anything. And besides, they got their participation trophies.

Least surprising? See my thoughts on this title from when I first tripped over it’s existence. Hollywood is Officially Out of Ideas.

For a more reasoned, business analysis of why this movie (and a few others) failed, there’s a story in Forbes and Hollywood, and raiding the Intellectual Property vault. Box Office: ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Joins ‘Terminator’ And ‘Doctor Sleep’ As Hollywood’s Latest Failed Franchise

Get Woke, Go Broke

I’m sorry but this movie “franchise” should have ended after T2. Is this movie 6? New ‘Terminator’ Flops at Box Office.

It looks like the movie will lose about $120 million.

So the director (who also did Deadpool, so he has some ability) said if you were conservative you would be scared by the female terminator. Okay.

It’s funny how Ripley of Alien or Alice of Resident Evil or Evelyn Salt of Salt or Sarah Connor, at least as portrayed in T2 (who kicks ass and takes names) or Mallory Kane of Haywire (a totally underappreciated film, BTW) didn’t scare conservatives. But Okay, a strong, female lead is supposed to scare conservatives. Because you are either Woke AF, or a misogynist. At least according to the director, Tim Miller.

And more about Tim Miller

So, this auteur tells us, the world is divided into “enlightened” people, on the one hand, and “misogynistic Internet trolls” on the other. Anyone who doesn’t want to pay $12.50 to be insulted by a two-hour cinematic Gender Studies lecture is therefore a misogynist. As I explained in July (“SJWs Ruin New ‘Terminator’ Sequel”), the reason hit movies become hits is because they usually follow classic formulas, expressing themes with a timeless appeal.

That division of the world is pretty much Hollywood’s view of “flyover country.”

I don’t expect Hollywood to learn. They’ve had opportunities before this. (Does anyone remember The Fantastic Four reboot? How about Ghost Busters?) It will take a couple of studios shutting their doors after a string of box-office flops before anything changes. Which is why I don’t go to see movies anymore. They make the same movie over and over again. (How many times has A Star Is Born been made? 4 or 5?) They take classic intellectual property and piss all over it, because they can’t imagine anything being important to anyone. In short, they suck.

DC’s Batwoman TV Show

OK I admit it. I’ve been watching the latest CW foray into the DC comic universe. (Multiverse?) Hooray for friends with DVRs.

A couple of things. Maybe you didn’t know but there was an “outcry” because apparently some people think Ruby Rose isn’t “gay enough.” (She was one of the highlights of the xXx: Return of Xander Cage movie. Though I’m not sure even she can rescue this series from bad writing.

There are plenty of reasons to be miffed at this series, but trust me, Ruby Rose as “not gay enough” isn’t one of them. Look up her short film Break Free. Or not. (You can find that film on YouTube, though you will have to get past the Ariana Grande song, and a song by Queen…) It will piss off a lot of people or I would include a link here.

In the comics, Kate Kane is supposed to be Jewish, but I have yet to see a screed about how Hollywood’s refusal to include this is bad. It probably is, but I doubt that the series will feature a Hanukkah episode this year, even though that was a thing in the comics; Kate and her father doing one holiday-like thing together every year.

My biggest beef is that they have cast Rachel Maddow as Vesper Fairchild. So far she is just a “voice on the radio.” In the comics, she was straight and had an affair with Bruce Wayne (aka, Batman). I would love to see them write that into the story, though I’m guessing Maddow would bail. So the social justice warriors are upset that certain characters are not gay-enough; where are the people complaining that Vesper Fairchild is not “straight enough?” Is this a two way street, or what? I didn’t think so.

Here’s the trailer for the show.

The New Midway Movie Actually Might Be Good

Given that they seem to actually be concentrating on the history. ‘Midway’ movie takes war in the Pacific seriously – We Are The Mighty – Americas Tactical Military Entertainment Brand.

When I first heard of this movie, I was sure it was going to be a joke. The director of Independence Day and Godzilla (the 1998 version, not the new version). Woody Harrelson as Chester Nimitz. These two things didn’t sound like a winning combination to me. But then I saw the Bonnie and Clyde movie that Harrelson was in, and I thought he might actually have promise.

And Roland Emmerich did direct the 2000, Mel Gibson movie The Patriot. And now they seem to be trying to get the history right. They’ve spent a fair amount of time visiting the actual places, and talking to navy personnel to understand what it must have been like.

Once the Department of Defense approved a production support agreement with the movie’s producers, the writers got busy working to get the script as accurate as practicable. Multiple script drafts were provided to the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC). Those same historians viewed the rough and final movie productions.

At the same time, I’m sure that the special effects (mostly digital) will be over the top, as you can see in the trailer.

I think when all is said and done, I will still prefer the Charlton Heston version.

The Comedy Police and a Truly Epic Fail

Rotten Tomatoes have been trying all year to eliminate “audience” ratings. It really started when there were large numbers of audience ratings for Captain Marvel that found that movie less than thrilling. They haven’t let up. Oh, they like audience ratings, if you buy movie tickets through them, otherwise you’re a bot from Russia, or something.

The latest show to earn the wrath of Rotten Tomatoes, and the ire of all people “woke,” is Dave Chappelle’s Sticks and Stones. I haven’t seen it, but I may have to try. (I won’t subscribe to Netflix, but friends are subscribed.)

Details, or at least a description of what caused the Kerfuffle is at ‘Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones’ On Netflix Doubles Down On His Critics. (Hat tip to Crowder.)

The Mark of Zorro (1940)

Tyrone Power vs Basil Rathbone. (Rathbone made an excellent bad guy!) This might be the best piece of swordsmanship ever put on film. It is certainly my favorite. The 1940 film The Mark of Zorro is definitely one of my favorite, classic movies. (When I was growing up, it played every year on WGN’s Family Classics.)

Basil Rathbone versus Errol Flynn in the 1938 production of The Adventures of Robin Hood comes close, but they had a much larger budget, and the fight is more about camera angles, and cinematic tricks, than about the fight itself. Also, that film was shot in Technicolor, and those cameras were large and unwieldy, and so they didn’t move too often. While 35mm cameras are not exactly small, compared to Technicolor, they are much easier to move around. I think it shows up in the story telling.

A movie from 1940 qualifies as Classic Cinema.

Ghostbusters (1984)

Classic Cinema? Please tell me it isn’t old enough to be “classic.” Original ‘Ghostbusters’ Returning to Theaters for 35th Anniversary.

the 1984 comedy “Ghostbusters” is returning to theaters in honor of its 35th anniversary

The “disaster of Biblical proportions” scene in the Mayor’s office is after the break. I’m not sure if that counts as a spoiler or not.

Continue reading

Born To Be Wild

Peter Fonda died this past week at the age of 79. I think most people know him because of Easy Rider, but I will always think of him as Ulee Jackson in the movie Ulee’s Gold.

This is “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf from their debut album Steppenwolf, which was released in 1968. (It was also released as a single.) It is set against the opening (at least in part) of Easy Rider. (YouTube. Browser privacy settings. “Unavailable.” Use link.)

After the break is the trailer for Ulee’s Gold. It is worth a look if you haven’t seen it. (Fonda did win “Best Actor” at the Golden Globes.)

Continue reading

Hacking In Movies and TV – Mostly Insanely Portrayed

Because Math and computers are hard, and writers are too cool to worry about those details anyway. 20 times Hollywood got hacking right (and oh so wrong).

Hacking, as with other real-world activities, like police work, journalism and being human, is something that Hollywood sometimes depicts accurately, and sometimes depicts with a lazy flurry of “rapid-fire typing.”

James Bond (and other big-ticket Hollywood films) gets hacking mostly wrong. As does NCIS, with a bunch of writers who apparently don’t know enough about computers to be able to use one to write their scripts. Mr Robot, of course, gets things right. Hak5 even mentioned that in one episode they apparently lifted some explanation for something word-for-word from a Hak5 page in the Wiki, and they got called out by name. Sort of. (The Hak5 Rubber Ducky.)

And this doesn’t even cover how people in tech are usually portrayed. (Nerds, in a nutshell.) NCIS gets points in my book for that. Neither Abby S. or McGee were completely nerdy. Though NCIS New Orleans fell back on that a bit. (Can you spell stereotype?)

There are even a few movies which are mentioned that I haven’t seen; I might look into them now. And there are also one or two, like Wargames, that I haven’t seen in a very long time, that might be worth reviewing.

Anyway if you have any interest in tech, and/or any interest in Movies and TV, you might get a kick out of the slideshow at the first link at the top.

Like a Train-wreck. I want to Look Away…

But I can’t. UFO. The 1970 TV series. It probably hit the US in 1971 or 1972 at the latest. (By 1975 they were making Space 1999, which was a spin-off.) I remember watching this, when it first launched. I thought it was great, but then I was 10 or 11 years old.

What follows is the pilot, “Identified.” They all seem to be there, though I have not watched them all. (There are limits! It truly is bad, even compared to the original Star Trek series.) The effects are cheesy, the costumes and dialog are ridiculous, even by the standards of 1970, though I do like the purple hair on the Moon Base Alpha crew. And EVERYBODY smokes. On planes. In offices. Wherever. Which was true up to about 1990 or so anyway. So since the series is set in 1980, this is probably Truth in Television.

The Worst Star Trek Movie in History to be Back in Theaters

Why? That’s a valid question. Star Trek: The Motion Picture Returning To Theaters For Its 40th Anniversary.

There’s an old proverb. (Not Klingon, as far as I know.) “Even numbered Star Trek movies don’t suck.” So of course they’re bringing back 1, the worst of the worst.

To mark the film’s 40th anniversary, there will be nationwide Star Trek: The Motion Picture showings on September 15th

If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean. If you haven’t seen it, don’t bother.

Another Movie I’m Glad I Didn’t Pay to See

I had forgotten I was on the library’s waiting list for Aquaman. It has been a long time since I signed up for that. While I liked the Marvel Cinematic Universe, at least before burnout set in, the DC Universe, aside from Wonder Woman, hasn’t worked well on the big screen. Some of the DC-based TV shows worked for a while.

The version of the DVD the library had only had one “special feature” about how the director was all about “world building.” It showed. The dialog was stilted, mostly because the delivery of the actors was wooden, or maybe the script was just that awful. Someone at DC should re-watch the original Spider-Man movie directed by Sam Raimi, for how to do superhero origin story, stay true to the material, and still make it fresh. Aquaman is a movie that is quite literally all about the special effects. I thought movie companies learned in the 1990s that isn’t enough to base a movie on. (Sometimes even bad movies can come with interesting ‘special features’ about how the movie was made.)

Anyway, I saw the movie, while having access to my own refrigerator, ( in another part of the house, but still), was able to stop the movie whenever, and was able to blog, surf the web, partake in the occasional Twitter storm, etc. So the 2 hours or whatever were not exactly wasted.

True Lies

1994 was a pretty good year for movies, and True Lies was a damn good movie. Just the right mix of action and humor. It was released 25 years ago today, on 15 July 1994.

The Truth Serum scene and what follows in 4 parts.

The part in which Jamie Lee Curtis has the best line in the movie. “I married Rambo.”

Continue reading